This October panel from the Mois de Lucas series was presented as part of a complete set to the Swedish Ambassador Count Erik Sparre of Sundby (d. 1726) by Louis XV in 1717. Count Sparre had fought for the French armies from 1683 and rose in the Swedish military to the rank of Marshall. Due to his close connections to the French Royal house, he was named Ambassador in 1715 but was recalled in 1717 to Sweden. It was almost certainly at that point that he was presented the set of tapestries. In Sweden he was named chancellor by Queen Ulrika Elenora (d. 1741) in 1718. Count Sparre gifted the tapestry set to Queen Ulrika Eleonora who ruled Sweden from 1719-1720 before marrying King Fredrik I (d. 1751) and abdicating the the throne to him. The tapestry remained in the Swedish Royal collection until circa 1900 when it was acquired by Carl Robert Lamm (d. 1938), member of a dynasty of successful industrialists, through Ms Colonel Thekla Boy. Lamm was an avid collector and housed his extensive holdings at Näsby Castle, originally built in the 14th Century, which he acquired in 1902 and rebuilt after it had burned down in 1897. A large part of his collection was sold in New York in 1923 under Swedish media protests for letting the highly apprised group leave Sweden.
ORIGINS OF THE SERIES
The Mois de Lucas series was probably originally designed by a Flemish artist of the school of Bernaert van Orley in about 1535 although the name which was erroneously given to the series in the early 17th century refers to Lucas van Leyden. The series was originally woven in Brussels and Bruges, while the Royal Gobelins workshops based their weaving on a set of twelve Brussels tapestries of circa 1535 that belonged to Louis XIV. That Brussels set, which possibly was the editio princeps, was unfortunately destroyed during the Revolution in 1797 to recouperate the silver and gold-thread. The series was first copied in Paris in the mid-17th century and then further altered and 'updated' for the weavings at Gobelins.
The first Gobelins version was probably woven for Colbert and lists the set in the inventory taken after his death in 1683, while the first weaving for King Louis XIV took place in 1688. Most of the 12 Gobelins sets recorded by Fenaille (État génénal des Tapisseries de la Manufacture des Gobelins, Paris, 1903, pp. 337 - 370) remained in the Royal collections, while there are some unrecorded private weavings. The border of this particular tapestry is most closely related to the first border version woven by Gobelins, which was used for five sets. The first two editions are fully recorded and completed by 1689, while the third and fourth are not traced in the records of the workshop, nor is it known what happened to them after they were woven. The subsequent and fifth set, to which the present lot belongs, was woven in 1712.